Lahore: Number of incidents of physical abuse on minor (4 to 16 years old) maids in Punjab has increased up to 62.2 percent in 2016 as compared to 2015 according to the data obtained by Truth Tracker. While statistics gained from a government run organization for the protection of children rights, Child Protection Bureau’s (CPB), 28 cases of physical abuse on house maids was reported in the year 2015 which increased up to 45 in 2016.
One of the recent cases of violence against house maids was reported at Akbari gate police station in which Akhtar, 16 years old boy and his 14 year old sister, Atia, were brutally tortured by their influential employer Fozia. Later, Akhtar, due to lack of proper medication, succumbed to his injuries. A murder case has been registered against Fozia who is a daughter of a member of Punjab provincial assembly from Pakistan Muslim league – Nawaz.
The Truth Tracker/News Lens Pakistan got an opportunity to speak to a 9-year- old girl (F) in the custody of CPB who was brutally tortured by her employer based on allegations of theft. She was rescued by CPB when some of the neighbor while seeking anonymity informed help line 1121 about that brutality. (F) parents could not afford her treatment, so the CPB not only provided her medical and psychological aid but also helped her parents for the lodging of case against culprits. “Taking (F) out from torture trauma was a big task for us and due to the professional psychologists in the center we were able to normalize her life”, CBP Chairperson, Saba Sadiq claimed.
While recalling the incident with Truth Tracker/News Lens Pakistan, (F) explains, “Daily baji (employer) woke me up very early and did not even feed me proper food. It became her regular routine to slap me but one day she accused me of stealing her necklace and then brutally tortured me with a club till I got unconscious and confined me in a store without any food or medication, I don’t remember what happened, but someone came to rescue me and brought me to CPB.”
A psychologist Rawa Haider Zaidi while narrating her experience with Truth Tracker/News Lens Pakistan said that it is quite difficult to help children out of the trauma but the constant attention and positive environment is beneficial in helping them recover. “Those who torture children are usually themselves mentally ill persons and in need of proper physiological treatment”, says Zaidi while replying to a query.
The CPB claimed that whenever they get any information they reach the victim and firstly try to provide him or her medical aid, psychological help and then the legal aid. “The CPB in Lahore alone has registered 11 cases of torture on minor maids, of which nine cases are still under trial while the challans of two remaining cases have been sent to court for further proceedings,” says Saba Sadiq. However, in Punjab she claimed to have lodged 23 cases in 2015 and 21 cases in 2016 respectively.
Barrister Mian Rehman Aziz while criticizing the figures of CPB said that 73 cases were reported in last two years while only 11 cases were registered in Lahore and total 44 cases were lodged in Punjab. “The CPB is getting huge funds from government and it is their duty to provide safe and secure environment to every child and the bureau needs to upgrade its efforts”, said Rehman. He further claimed that he had not heard that any of the charged persons for violence against house maids were punished yet and declaring its responsibility on poor police investigation and lack of interest by prosecution department.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police Operations Punjab Amir Zulfiqar Khan while clarifying police said that in most of the circumstances the victims or their families were not willing to take a stand against their assailants by lodging criminal case. “I can show you a number of examples where victims or their families settled the matter with accused and gave written statement to police or in courts in the favor of the accused party”, Amir explained.